Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Still in St. Thomas

Just a quick update to let readers know that we are still in St. Thomas.  I know, we originally only planned to stay 3-4 days.  Why do we even plan, we never stick to it!  There have been several reasons for the delay but the primary one is the backstay in the picture below.  If you look closely you'll see a wire strand hanging from the stay.

On the trip from Leinster Bay to Salt Pond Bay, St. John we heard a Boinggggggg!  That's never a good sound!  A wire strand in one of our backstays (Merengue Has 2) broke and was unraveling, floating in the breeze.  We've been told that it is very unusual for one to break in the middle.  They usually break at one of the fittings.  We've spent the last week getting price quotes from riggers here and in Tortola for 2 new backstays.  We are hopeful, although not completely optimistic, that we will only have to replace the backstays.  Merengue's rigging is old and we're sure it will need to be replaced at some point in the near future.  But at thousands of dollars we'd like to delay that for as long as possible if we can.  Seeing as how the rigging holds the mast up it's not something you can really ignore!  Luckily our problem occurred on an island where we have lots of options for repairs so we should be able to get the rig fixed fairly easily, we hope!  Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. John, St. Thomas, St. Patrick's

We left St. Martin for the overnight sail to St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands on March 4th.  Our friends Craig & Amy Bush and their nephew, Scott were chartering for a week and we were excited to meet up with them.  We first met Craig & Amy in St. Augustine, FL at Christmas in 2006.  We were in the early months of our adventure and they were spending the winter months cruising south on the ICW on their sailboat "Ptarmigan".  We spent time together in anchorages throughout Florida before we headed to the Bahamas and they turned north to return to their homeport of Mistic, CT.
Amy and Scott on the bow and Craig at the helm as they sail into Leinster Bay, St. John.

Our first night together and we are treated to dinner aboard their boat.  Here's Craig cooking up scallops to be served with Amy's wildrice, green beans and salad.  Fabulous! 
Craig, Amy and Scott heading over to the BVI's to pick up friends who will be joining them for the rest of the week.
Here's the whole crew as they pass us on the way to Water Island, St. Thomas.  No fair, they're 45 ft and we're a 27 ft, heavily loaded cruising boat.  We can't keep up!
Here's the whole crew enjoying Happy Hour in Salt Pond Bay, St. John.
We say it all the time, the best part of cruising is the people we meet.  Craig & Amy are 2 of those people.  It was so great seeing them again.  We'd love to go sailing with them someday in their cruising grounds around Block Island, Martha's Vineyard and points north. 

St. Patrick's Day and we are in St. Thomas.  I'll bet there will be a party at Molly Malone's in Red Hook! 

Guiness, rueben sandwiches, Irish music, we haven't had a St. Paddy's like this since we left the states.
St. Patrick's Day is just not celebrated on most islands.  I remember asking a waitress in the Bahamas if anything special was planned for St. Patrick's and she looked like she had no idea what I was talking about.  But now we are back in a U.S. island and Molly Malone's is as fine an Irish Pub as you'll find anywhere.  Their slogan is "Same Ireland, Different Island." 

A shot called Leprechaun Juice....

... and the lovely serving wench who sells them.

Men is kilts playing traditional Irish music and step dancers.  They were even brodcasting the parade from New York City on the TV's over the bar.

Red Hook's St. Patrick's Day parade consists of a grand marshall, a bagpipper, drummer, fiddler, a few flag wavers and anyone else who wants to jump in.  The parade took about 45 seconds to watch, 2 minutes if you stayed for the second lap around the parking lot.  It was great!

Hope you all had a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Connie, Bill and Natalie's Excellent Adventure!

More than 2 weeks without internet! Yikes, we feel so disconnected!
So we are finally showing you pictures of Connie (Wendy's sister o' sister), brother-in-law Bill and Natalie (brother Mike's daughter) during their recent visit to see us in St. Martin. It was so great!
They rented a villa overlooking Oyster Pond and we spent much of our time hanging out at the pool....

and hanging out by the pool......

...and hanging out by the pool, well you get the idea.
Jim has been collecting local beers from all of the islands so that Bill and Natalie could take a beer tour of the Caribbean.
We did manage to drag ourselves away from the pool for a trip to Friar's Bay, a beautiful little beach on the north-side of the island.
Jim, Bill & Natalie hiked to Happy Bay, about a 20 minute walk over the hill.
Back at the villa and we decided to hike up the hill to take in the view.
We bought about a 5 gallon jar of cheese balls at the Cost's U Less and Natalie decided it would provide us with much needed nurishment on the hike.  Who needs water and trail mix when you have cheese balls!  We finally ate the last of them 3 weeks later!
Off to the street festival in Grand Case.  The street is blocked off and artist's and vendors display their wares.  There's music and food too.
Can't resist buying a little something.
Bill & Connie.

Jim, Wendy & Natalie.
The view towards Orient Bay.

Fun at Orient Beach.  Yes, we all kept our clothes on!
We talked Natalie into Parasailing.  It took lots of talking and a little alcohol but she was convinced if I went with her.  I parasailed once before but that was when I was her age.  Time to go again!
Lift off! 
Up, up and away!
Jet ski ride back to shore....

.. and we did it.  Very cool!
We had such a good time with Connie, Bill and Natalie.  There's already talk about next year!
Hope so.  We love you guys!